Netflix has canned its longtime chief communications officer after he allegedly dropped the N-word during a company meeting.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Jonathan Friedland was terminated this week after multiple Netflix staffers claimed he had used offensive language on more than one occasion. The company’s CEO Reed Hastings announced Friedland’s departure in an internal memo on Friday, pointing to several incidents in which the executive allegedly displayed “unacceptably low racial awareness and sensitivity.”
The first incident was several months ago in a PR meeting about sensitive words. Several people afterwards told him how inappropriate and hurtful his use of the N-word was, and Jonathan apologised to those that had been in the meeting. We hoped this was an awful anomaly never to be repeated.
[…] The second incident, which I only heard about this week, was a few days after the first incident; this time Jonathan said the N-word again to two of our Black employees in HR who were trying to help him deal with the original offense. The second incident confirmed a deep lack of understanding, and convinced me to let Jonathan go now.
Friedland joined Netflix in 2011 as the vice president of global corporate communications. He was promoted to chief communications officer in the following year, overseeing all publicity for Netflix’s original series, films, and specials. Friedland confirmed his termination via Twitter on Friday.
“I’m leaving Netflix after seven years. Leaders have to be beyond reproach in the example we set and unfortunately I fell short of that standard when I was insensitive in speaking to my team about words that offend in comedy,” he wrote. “I feel awful about the distress this lapse caused to people at a company I love and where I want everyone to feel included and appreciated. I feel honored to have built a brilliant and diverse global team and to have been part of this collective adventure in building the world’s leading entertainment service.”
According to THR, Netflix has not announced Friedland’s replacement.